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What did you do this summer?

This is the time of year when many kids go back to school. I remember those days myself.

I remember coming into class in elementary school, the teacher welcoming everyone and handing out a blank sheet of paper. Then he or she would ask us to write a few paragraphs on what we did that summer.

I really enjoyed that simple exercise. So much in fact that even now, many years away from those elementary school days, I find myself mentally taking stock of what I did over the summer.

Was it a good one? Did I get the time away from work as I would have hoped? Did I spend quality time with my family?

If you follow my blogs, you know that I take a break over the summer from writing my “Gut Check for Leaders” blog. I find that the summer is generally a good time to take time off, in that many leaders do the same. This summer, however, it seems as if leaders had no respite.

Even though it’s only been 60 days since my last blog, I can’t believe how many significant leadership stories have taken place. Here are of few of the stories that I found to be most important. I will come back to these stories in the coming weeks in future blog posts.

Sergio Marchionne of Fiat Chrysler

As I spoke to business leaders in my meetings, this was the number one topic. He was known for bringing both Fiat and Chrysler back from near collapse and growing the value of the companies eleven-fold. He was also known as being a driven and very difficult leader work with.

I was asked many times whether I thought that Marchionne was a good leader, given his harsh and aggressive style. It was a great question and one I’ve been thinking a lot about.

Tesla’s Elon Musk

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is a visionary and larger-than-life personality. However, over the summer he seriously eroded faith in his company and leadership in a barrage of social media posts that raised questions about his mental and emotional health.

His story really points out the reality of leading in today’s world. We all seem to have a front row seat on the life of every leader. A couple of decades ago, stories like these would take weeks to become public. Now, everything is instantaneous and points to the need for leaders to tame their impulsive tendencies.

Move over Millennials

The State of The White House

As someone who has worked with a lot of organizations over the years, you can quickly spot when a leader has his or her house in order, or whether it’s in disarray. When an organization is in disarray it erodes trust and confidence in the senior leaders. Is something similar happening in your organization?

The Price of Scandals and Corruption

Japanese Football Fans

What did you do this summer?

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